According to recent findings our solar system had a close encounter with a red dwarf star nearly 70,000 years ago. It was the closest encounter to have been recorded ever as no other star had ever passed by through this distance. The distance between our sun and the red dwarf had been nearly 0.8 light years, which comes to about 5 trillion miles, which is still a close call speaking strictly in terms of astronomical distances.
According to international astronomers, the red dwarf might have passed by a cloud of comets, distant from the solar system, which was earlier known as Oort’s cloud. The nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri is nearly five times more distant than the closest point between our sun and the red dwarf’s trajectory.
The team of researchers mostly comprised of scientists from the United States, Europe and South America. This has also been published in the ‘Astrophysical Journal Letters’.
The actual trajectory of the red dwarf was constructed by the help of various large telescopes from Chile and South Africa and spectrographs as well. Also, researchers were able to calculate the estimated velocity of the red dwarf. The dim star was later named “Scholz’s Star”, named after its discoverer. Scientists have also proved that the same star is now heading away from our solar system.
Scholz’s star is nearly 20 light years away from us, according to Eric Mamajek from the University of Rochester in New York, the lead author of the study.
Until yesterday, the only star to have had a close encounter with our solar system had been “HIP 85605”, which was also known as “rogue star”. The encounter, however, happened a lot of years before, in the range of “240,000 to 470,000” years from now.
However, Mamajek and his colleagues have also been able to demonstrate the fact that the original distance to the star HIP 85605 could have been miscalculated and underestimated by a factor of ten.